Why Editing Is Hard Work

Even though I love writing, I don’t know if I love editing.

It’s messy. It’s hard work. And that’s why I’m a hardcore procrastinator anytime I have to make my first drafts better.

I tend to leave comments telling other bloggers their poem or post is well-written. Maybe what I really ought to say is they’re well-edited. After all, first drafts are ugly. How do you make them beautiful? You clean them. Fix the mistakes, the errors.

How time-consuming, huh? I’d argue that sometimes it takes more time to edit than it does to write. At least in my experience.

I don’t know if I’d call myself a perfectionist, but I am quite particular with words. I’m constantly looking for a better one.

With writing, I try not to worry about being perfect. I focus as much as I can on getting my thoughts or ideas down. Dump the contents on my mind onto the page.

I’ve gotten better at separating writing from editing. They’re two separate processes. They’re tough enough to do on their own. So imagine trying to write and edit at the same time.

I procrastinate editing for obvious reasons. It’s a lot of work, especially if I know I wrote an exceptionally terrible first draft.

I think editing requires more energy than writing. Maybe energy isn’t the right word. Editing asks more, demands more. You need to be alert and attentive rather than divide your attention or try to multi-task.

I like writing later in the day when I’m tired. In the mornings, I feel more awake, less exhausted, so I’ll edit. Besides, I catch mistakes better when my eyes aren’t threatening to close on me.

Just like writing, editing in my opinion is toughest at the start, usually right before you begin. But the more you edit, the better your piece will be. And the closer you’ll get to being done with editing and moving back into the magical phase of writing.

Do you find editing hard? If so, why?

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The Experience Of Giving And Receiving Feedback

My brain melted. I spent an evening reading two stories and trying to critique them, constructively of course.

I’ve forgotten how much work giving feedback is, especially to people you hardly know.

I keep going back and forth between I’m being too harsh or honest. Besides, I would want people to be truthful by providing useful suggestions, not tell me my piece is perfect, which everyone did in elementary and high school.

I like to think I have a good grasp of grammar, so I can’t help myself when I see a comma splice or a dangling modifier. But I also realize grammar isn’t always the main issue. Writers want and need feedback on style, flow, etc.

Editing is a lot of work. It’s one thing to edit your own story. It’s a whole other beast entirely when you have to critique someone else’s.

I try to give feedback I’d like to receive. So I do what I can to balance content suggestions with grammatical corrections.

Ideally, I could sit down with someone and talk to them face to face about their work. But when does that ever happen?

On the other side, getting feedback is great but still a challenge.

I hate my ego sometimes for getting in the way.

I don’t always apply every comment. At times, I am dismissive or defensive.

It helps to get an outside perspective on your writing. And I think having strangers critique your story has its advantages. They don’t know you like your family and friends do. Most of the time, they don’t have to go out of their way to protect your feelings.

But I’m careful with my comments. I include question marks following my suggestions. I say maybe and perhaps so many times, it’s not even funny. I tend to add a disclaimer at the beginning or end, saying something along the lines of take what works, toss what doesn’t. If anything is unclear, ask me to clarify.

I guess I’m well aware my ego is big but fragile, yet I don’t want to hurt anyone else’s because I’ve been on both sides of the proverbial coin.

The Promise Of Dawn By Lauraine Snelling | A Book Review

Title: The Promise of Dawn

Author: Lauraine Snelling

Genre: Historical Fiction

About the book: It is the first in a series called Under the Northern Lights. Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

First impressions: I read the blurb, thinking it would be a different yet interesting story. I found the Norwegian phrases pretty simple to understand based on the context even though I wasn’t expecting the other language at all.

Summary: A family travels from Norway to Minnesota. They work hard to build a new life in another country, which isn’t easy.

Characters: The story revolves around the Carlson family, which are a likeable bunch. Gerd and Einar, the uncle and aunt, are not, but that changes as the book progresses. I enjoyed the various family dynamics and interactions.

Because Einar is not the nicest man, to say the least, I anticipated some kind of backstory or at least a reason as to why he’s so mean. Unfortunately, I never got any answers.

Quote:

“Gratitude was valuable.”

Conflict: Both the uncle and aunt have high expectations. The mother, Signe, begins to lose her faith in God as a lot of things go wrong for her family in America.

More exciting events happened at the beginning and near the end, which left the middle feeling somewhat dull and flat at times.

Writing: It’s descriptive. Most of the Norwegian happens in dialogue or internal monologues. I think there were some minor errors and sentences that could’ve been written better.

I guess my only real gripe is that not a lot happens. I also feel some characters didn’t have much agency. Reading about the family’s day to day life got repetitive. Even some of the words or phrases were used often. Perhaps the book would’ve benefited if several parts were cut, and it was a shorter novel.

Final thoughts: Even though The Promise of Dawn isn’t what I normally gravitate towards picking up, I learned a lot while reading it. The story is set in the early twentieth century.

I recommend it if you’re interested in historical books with a particular focus on families.

Overall, it was a nice departure from what I have been reading recently and will likely continue to read. If you thought thrillers, you thought right. While I don’t mind historical fiction, I find them a bit tougher to relate to as the characters face problems so dissimilar from my own.


If you haven’t already, feel free to add me as a friend on Goodreads to keep up with what I’m reading when I remember to update my status.

You can buy the book on Amazon or Book Depository. Those are my affiliate links. If you make a purchase using them, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks!

Isn’t Fair To You | A Poem

Remember how badly

You wanted to run away

Sometimes you still do

Because the people who were Supposed to be there for you

Left you to fend for yourself

Left you alone

They sharpened their knives

Though they didn’t need to

Before each tip pressed into your skin

And pierced right through

You thought running was an answer

But if you did you’d be worse than ever

Because you can’t outrun

A betrayal like that

They gained your trust early on

When you didn’t know better

Couldn’t even fight back

Still can’t

Yet you wonder

Why the world isn’t fair to you

Why it never was in the past

How Being A Blogger Made Me A Better Writer

I don’t know many things, but I know that blogging has improved my writing. So I figured after four years of managing this blog, I should write a post explaining how being a blogger made me a better writer. And continues to. Let’s see where this goes.

Brevity

Before blogging, I used to be somewhat lengthy and wordy at times. But I’ve cut down on that. Get my point across. Use as many words as I need to. No more, no less.

Grammar

I try to use good grammar all the time. Blogging isn’t an exception. I’ve also run into instances where I’m unsure of a grammatical rule while I’m writing a blog post and had to look it up. It never hurts to have greater exposure to grammar.

Style

Everyone has their own style, even though it takes plenty of time to develop.

Voice

Being on WordPress allowed me to discover myself on many fronts. And because I aim to blog every day, I have had a lot of chances to figure out who I am.

How has blogging helped you as a writer?

Writing As A Way Of Appreciating

Writer’s block. I believe in being blocked, but I don’t believe in using it as an excuse. Do better. Be better.

When baseball hitters go through slumps, they hit their way out of slumps. I think the same goes for writing. You don’t break out of a writing slump if you don’t write. You have to write your way out. Write a hundred terrible words. Write a thousand. Write until you’re not blocked.

Life isn’t perfect. Never will be. At any given time, the conditions are less than ideal. You need to do things before you’re ready to every now and then. That’s part of living and learning.

Obviously, some days are better than others. Be proud you’ve written even if you don’t love what you wrote. You can always make your first drafts better. You can’t improve non-existent stories however.

I’m trying not to take life too seriously. Besides, I got into writing because it was fun and enjoyable. I’m not letting anyone or anything steal my joy away.

Finding that balance between work and play is a challenge. But it’s doable. And even though I’m going to be busier, I have no plans to stop doing what I want: writing, reading, blogging.

A part of me misses the routine I established over the summer, although school hasn’t been too bad. I’m excited for what’s to come. I love learning. Always have, always will.

When I think about my schooling so far, I realize I never had many problems academically. I went to class, I did the homework. But everything else associated about school was tougher. The social aspect especially.

Mentally, I’m doing better than I have in a long time. It’s not such a terrible time to be in university for me.

Despite the one plus hour commute being a pain, it also provides some much needed time away. I don’t have any data. I can only access wifi at certain stops along the way. Which means I spend my commutes reading, writing, blogging. I get to disconnect temporarily.

This year I have a goal for myself to enjoy the little things in life. I think I take a lot for granted every day. So I hope to appreciate what I have through writing.

Advice For Aspiring Writers | A Q&A About Writing

Wherein I answer a bunch of questions I’ve probably already answered before and hopefully some new ones.

How long have you been writing?

Not long enough. I started penning my first novel right before high school. I’m currently in my third year of university. So about 8 years give or take.

What was your first novel called?

Breaking Ground. Don’t ask.

Read the book or see the movie?

The book obviously. Once a reader, always a reader.

Favourite word?

Contemporary. I really like modern art, dance, design, etc.

Least favourite word?

Filler words.

What do you drink while writing?

I can tell you what I don’t drink: coffee. Or tea for that matter. Water works perfectly fine for me.

What do you eat while writing?

Most likely some kind of fruit. Grapes probably.

What music are you playing?

I write in silence or I write to rock songs. There’s no in between.

The pen you prefer you use?

I’m not too particular about my pens.

When do you write best?

Probably at night because it’s not as busy.

What kind of paper do you prefer?

Lined.

What type of notebook do you use?

Spiral. They’re easier to hold with one hand.

Your favourite room to write in?

My room. My bed is comfortable and cozy.

Natural or artificial light?

I’m all for natural lighting when I’m reading. When I’m writing, it doesn’t matter as much to me. More often than not I write with the help of artificial light.

Hair up or down?

Up in a ponytail usually.

The hardest part about writing?

Not getting distracted. Editing is another story entirely.

The easiest part about writing?

Nothing. I kid. Personally I enjoy writing the first draft.

What’s your advice for aspiring writers?

Start writing.

What have you sacrificed in order to write?

A social life. A love life. A life essentially.

Feel free to answer the above questions in your head or in a post.

Some Reminders About School

You go to school to learn, not to prove that you’re some perfect, infallible human being.

So it’s okay to make mistakes, to fail. That’s when you learn the most or should anyway.

Stop focusing on your grades, your GPA. Start focusing on getting a good education.

Learning doesn’t stop after graduation. It shouldn’t stop ever. Keep your eyes and ears open. There’s always something you don’t know.

Figure things out on your own. Don’t give up right away when the going gets though. You have to solve some problems by yourself without anyone else helping you. Still, don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.

Do great work.

Don’t cheat. You’re only cheating yourself. Not just in the traditional sense either.

Be your best.

Staying Positive And Looking At The Bright Side

Life isn’t perfect. And sometimes things don’t work out perfectly.

But I’m going to be positive. I want to look at the bright side instead of focusing on all the things that went wrong today.

The world isn’t ideal. And sometimes we experience moments that aren’t the way we envisioned. But it’s okay. We find a way. Human beings do their best.

When I feel rushed, I make myself slow down. I try to take in life as much as I can. Stop and smell the roses so to speak. I like roses. Red is a pretty colour.

Besides, better late than never. But never late is better. Still, sometimes people need time to get where they need to go. And as long as we eventually get there, how long we take is less significant.

I know I’ll continue to make mistakes left, right, and center. Here’s hoping I learn from them and not repeat the same mistake again.

I’ve been reminding myself that life works out. Someday. Somehow. Someway. It does. Eventually.

Even though events don’t always pan out the way we intended, at least we tried. We did our best.

We’re humans. So we are going to be humans.

Front Lines | A Poem

I rather lose

When no one’s watching

Than realize I’m not good enough

When everyone’s waiting

For my next move

Somehow the spotlight got moved

Now it’s shining down on me

And the rest of my team

Even though no one believes

It’s enough that we can see

The dream

A light at the end

Hold my hand

We’ve been through the battles

Shoved on the front lines

Forced to make fires

Find ways to navigate

This minefield of theirs